I posted an article titled ‘Why Do People Hate Novak Djokovic?’ and the reaction was more or less what you would expect for a such a controversial character when he was the most talked about player on the tour.
Andy Murray is another top player that continues to divide opinion, even in the UK, and it’s worth taking a look at the reasons people might not be his biggest fan. Murray is the most talented player Britain has produced in a long time.
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With all due respect to Tim Henman, Andy’s all-around game and natural ability (in my opinion at least) far surpasses the old Wimbledon favorite yet the British public have never been quite as accepting of the Scot as they were of Henman. This could be down to a number of things.
Firstly, in a completely different way to Djokovic, Murray has a controversial personality. To some, he can come across as grumpy, sullen and miserable which makes it hard for those who see him this way to warm to him.
Others see a young man with a very dry sense of humor who has been practically forced into subduing his personality, in part due to the British media backlash to (misconstrued) comments he made about the English football team when he was younger.
To me, Andy is just a typical young Scotsman, and while I can understand people finding it hard to find him instantly likable I think it’s a little unfair to call him boring or miserable without digging a little deeper.
On the court, his style of play is just as divisive. Arguably the best returner on the tour, his grinding style of play is not always to the taste of those raised on the attacking style of Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. The plan has always been to try to draw errors from his opponents, and the tendency to be ultra-defensive typically manifests itself during the high-pressure moments in big matches.
This frustrates those who are aware of how good his attacking game can be, while others view it as a lack of courage when the going gets tough. His performance against Djokovic in the 2012 Australian Open might has convinced some that he’s starting to break this habit, but only time will tell if that’s the case.
Another habit which draws a lot of criticism is his reaction when things aren’t going well for him, in particular when he shouts abuse at his team. It shows a lack of respect to those who work with him, it shows weakness to his opponents and it shows he’s not willing to take responsibility for what’s happening on the court.
This is something which hasn’t really been seen much since Ivan Lendl took over as his coach, but it’s typically mentioned by those who don’t like Murray. Finally, even his fans have a bit of a love/hate relationship with him. If I may use the Henman comparison again, he always received huge support from the public in the UK in the slams as a sort of plucky underdog they could all get behind.
I don’t think there was ever any genuine expectation that he would win a major despite his talent, and it was always fun just to enjoy the ups and downs of the tournament. With Murray, the talent is there for him to pick up a major (apart from maybe the French Open) and every time he goes close there is always a huge mix of disappointment and frustration.
We’ll put ourselves through it again every few months in the hope that one day he’ll break through, and it’s that expectation that keeps a lot of people tuning into Andy’s matches time after time. Few could argue with his ability and his temperament seems to be getting better as he matures so he may start to pick up a few more fans in the coming months and years, but I guess some people just won’t warm to Murray no matter how much he achieves within the game.